« Did Sarah Palin or any others at the Tea Party Convention talk about pot prohibition or mass incarceration? | Main | "New legal issue: Payment for child porn victims" »

February 7, 2010

"Record 86% of Japanese Support Death Penalty, Yomiuri Reports"

The title of this post is the headline of this Bloomberg news item.  Here are the details:

Japanese support for the death penalty rose to a record 85.6 percent, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing a poll by the Cabinet Office.

Support for capital punishment rose from 81.4 percent in 2004, while opposition to the death penalty under any circumstances declined to 5.7 percent, from 6 percent, the report said. The Cabinet surveyed 3,000 men and women 20 and older, it said.

Death penalty abolitionists often like to suggest that only third-world countries or countries with poor human rights records like China still are fans of the death penalty.  But I always remember that Japan stands as another modern example of an advanced industrialized nation that still utilizes capital punishment.  And this latest survey suggests that support for the death penalty in Japan may be the very strongest in the entire world.  Very interesting.

February 7, 2010 at 09:40 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Record 86% of Japanese Support Death Penalty, Yomiuri Reports":


Not only First World, but extraordinarily low rates of crime. Corporal punishments continue in school. You get a beating in jail whether you deserve one or not. The guards run the place, not the prisoners or better, not the know nothing lawyers.


It has the same number of murders as New York City, with 10 times its population.

The Japanese also avoid the sole cruelty of the death penalty in the US, the setting of a date. That date is legal hoaxing, and gets reset repeatedly. This practice is as cruel as a mock execution.

Even those with a terminal illness do not know the date of their death. In Japan, the person and the family are told of the date on the date.

The set date has never been challenged on Eighth Amendment grounds. It is self-evident.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 10:24:23 AM

Speaking at a symposium on the death penalty organised in Tokyo by the Swedish presidency of the European Union, a Japanese minister expressed his commitment for abolition.
“I will continue to do my best to abolish the death penalty, in line with the international trend”, Shizuka Kamei, Japan’s newly appointed postal and financial services minister said on December 2 (2009).
Kamei added his government, led by prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, would reverse the trend towards more executions established by its predecessor. However, he acknowledged that Japan was not ready for abolition and promised to work towards a moratorium on executions as a first step.
Kamei was speaking at the event “Reflections on Life: European and Asian Perspectives on Capital Punishment” organised by the Swedish presidency of the European Union at Tokyo’s Waseda University.
Link for article on my name.

Posted by: peter | Feb 7, 2010 11:38:42 AM

Japan is a markedly underlawyered nation. That explains both the popularity of the death penalty and its very low crime rate. The enforcement of rules are the task of family, school, boss, peers, and not just of government. There is also a greater value placed on group belonging. For example, the term, bullying, is quite different in Japan. Here, a big guy threatens a little guy. In Japan, bullying means, someone is picked out for a mysterious reason, not for being small nor for having poor social skills. The bullied target is shunned. That is unbearable to a Japanese person, and suicide sometimes follows.

If we lower the number of lawyers from 1.3 million to half, we could get some of the same benefits. Visits to Japan are like visiting the planet Vulcan. Order is the most striking feature. Within a few days there, one looks back at the US, and thinks, "What a pointlessly chaotic mess." The grass is always greener, and the Japanese envy our chaos a little. They are not missing anything. They can practice rap singing at their kareoke after work. That is all the chaos they need.

Because the rule of law is an essential utility product, statutes could declare the lawyer profession a government regulated utility. Its supply would be in accordance with the population and size of the economy, not in accordance to the self interest of the hierarchy now running it. Their interest is in having an overlawyered nation. The salary of the lawyer would go up in proportion to their drop in supply. That is why the ABA of 100 years from now will have a statue of the Supremacy in its entrance hall.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 12:47:59 PM

I saw this depressing news about the Japanese taste for death in this morning's Japan Times.

Most Japanese are too young to remember what painful death is like. Only a small percentage of them was alive at the time of the atomic blastings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Moreover, the truly ancient among them may have fond memories of the tortures they inflicted on the Chinese during the famous “Rape of Nanking.” An intermediate number may have loved the death marches they inflicted on American prisoners during World War II. How else, can I account for their passionate love of the death penalty?

According to yesterday’s Japan Times, a staggeringly high percentage of the Japs favor the death penalty – 85.6%!

About 55 percent of respondents described the extension of the statute of limitations for capital crimes, including murder, to 25 years from 15 years in 2005 under the revised Code of Criminal Procedure, as “too short.” Half these sweethearts want statutes of limitation abolished altogether. Do you know some feeble, paralyzed 97 year old guy who committed a murder 75 years ago? Kill him!

Just when I thought Japan was joining the ranks of the civilized. 95 nations have abolished zapping and 50 others don't practice it although it remains on the book.

Sidney Gendin, Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy of Law
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Mi 48197
734 476 4495

Posted by: Sidney Gendin | Feb 7, 2010 2:45:03 PM

The left wing academic forgets something.

Murders in Japan, 637. Executions in Japan < 100 a year.

Murders in US, 17,000. Executions in USA < 50.

Not one word from this bird about the 16,000 murder victims too many under the regime of the lawyer in the US. Most went rough. There is only one philosophy of law at work in the US, rent seeking by a criminal cult enterprise.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 3:21:54 PM

As an aside, use of the word, "Nips," makes the utterer look cheap and hostile to a great civilization, antedating that of Europe. It also sets a bad example for the students of the left wing academic, of using puerile, racist, ad hominem remarks as a substitute for debate points. I suggest replacing that word.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 3:35:57 PM

As a child of the '80s I can't read or hear the word "Nip" in terms of Japanese without thinking of the wordplay scene in "Attack of the Killer Tomatos". Which robs it, in the best possible way, of being taken seriously as an insult.

About the "great civilization, antedating Europe" claim, what exactly does that mean? What exactly did AD Yamato (the first unified-beyond-tribal-level "civilization" in Japan) have that the Romans, or even the earlier the Greeks, didn't? For that matter, what did they really have over the loose tribal confederations of Central and Northern Europe? I thought credible historians had long since discarded the whole "Dark Ages were pure anarchic barbarity" meme.

Posted by: Matthew Carberry | Feb 7, 2010 4:57:59 PM

The Japanese bathed more than once every 2 years. And, they did so on purpose, not just from being caught in a heavy rain.


As to anarchic barbarity of the Dark Ages. No. They had an Inquisition with its business plan. And we are now enduring the Inquisition 2.0 with the same business plan. It took the French Revolution to put it to bed when 10,000 priests were beheaded or expelled from the nation. We are living the Dark Ages and all their sick, psychotic, rent seeking legal doctrines. These suck, and violate the Establishment Clause, coming from a church, and imposed at the point of a gun on an oppressed population. We need the same level of relief from these new Inquisitors as the French Revolution. Their self-dealt immunities fully morally and intellectually justify violent self-help by the public. It should start with a boycott of the lawyer traitor to the constitution by all product and service providers. Turn off their water, electricity, refuse them medical care, hair cuts, cars, computers. Set them back to the hell of 1270 AD, where they are keeping us prisoners.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 6:17:37 PM

i've never understood suicide. Sorry i would never think of killing myself. The sucker making me nuts sure!

but myself NEVER!

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Feb 8, 2010 2:38:08 AM

The Japanese execute 1 of 7 of their murderers. The US executes 1 of 400. The Japanese are closer to the sweet spot on the dose response curve of the remedy of the death penalty. The result? They have one tenth the murder rate as the US (600 murders for a population of 100 million, compared to 17000 murders for a US population of 300 million). If they had our murder rate, there would be 6000 murders a year, not 600. They have saved 5000 murder victims a year by their support of the death penalty.

The average Japanese IQ is 110, not 100 as in the US.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 8, 2010 7:13:15 AM

Actually the murder rate in Japan is not so different from that in the UK and European countries - who of course achieve such low rates WITHOUT resort to the death penalty. Also, like the UK and Europe, handguns etc are not so readily tolerated as a desirable status and fashion symbol, which may just have something to do with it.

Posted by: peter | Feb 8, 2010 7:53:02 AM

Professor Berman -

You linked to this article from the Times of London back in Sept.:


The final paragraph is instructive:

"One of the problems is that, in Japan, a life sentence means 30 years and courts are not permitted to impose it without the possibility of parole. Some activists believe that only if the law is changed — so that life can mean life — will public opinion tolerate the formal abolition of capital punishment."

Posted by: Shawn | Feb 8, 2010 10:27:27 AM

The murder rate of Western Europe is double or triple that of Japan. That of Eastern Europe is an order of magnitude or two above that of Japan. The murder rate of whites in the US is like that of Europe. Kill a white here, you are killed at the scene usually. If you make it alive to trial, you will be executed. Kill a black, nothing happens.


Germany is overlawyered as we are. South America is massively overlawyered. It is a hell hole, far more dangerous than the worst neighborhoods of the USA. These poor areas in South America may be war zones in dangerousness. Thank the lawyer for immunizing the murderer of the black murder victim. Thank the lawyer for making South America nearly uninhabitable unless part of a gang.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 9, 2010 1:11:48 AM

Shawn --

When support is at 86%, the notion that a change in prison sentences will create a majority AGAINST capital punishment is at best speculative, and at worst absurd.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 9, 2010 2:57:03 AM


Did I say a change in Japan's life sentences would create a majority against capital punishment? No. I was merely quoting information that Professor Berman himself linked to just a few months ago but did not include in this post. I know you like to be argumentative on this blog, but the only thing "absurd" that I quoted is how absurdly lenient Japan's life sentence is, at least in my opinion. I do think a stronger life sentence, especially without parole, might cut into Japan's overwhelming support of the death penalty, but I doubt it would create a majority against capital punishment. My best guess is their approval rating might mirror that of the US, with solid majority support. Regardless, unlike many of the people who comment on this blog, I am not overly dogmatic about these issues. I prefer pragmaticism based on a thorough examination of objective facts. In this instance I thought a discussion of Japan's death penalty would be incomplete without mentioning that their life sentences are comparatively short and cannot be imposed without parole.

Posted by: Shawn | Feb 9, 2010 10:04:25 AM

The Japanese murder rate is not as low as we think. In Japan a murder is an official murder only if there's a body, and the yakuza are very good at disposing of bodies. They run the majority of construction companies and have plenty of places to bury their victims. They've got their own twisted violence over there in Japan.

Posted by: Xico | Feb 10, 2010 3:40:39 AM

Shawn --

"I do think a stronger life sentence, especially without parole, might cut into Japan's overwhelming support of the death penalty, but I doubt it would create a majority against capital punishment. My best guess is their approval rating might mirror that of the US, with solid majority support."

Then we are in agreement. Thank you for your response.

P.S. I readily confess to being "dogmatic" on the DP, since in my view there are murders so cruel, sadistic and gratuitious that a sentence of imprisonment, no matter what its length, does not even approach just punishment.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 10, 2010 4:17:58 AM

Very good post. Made me realize I was totally wrong about this issue. I figure that one learns something new everyday. Mrs Right learned her lesson! Nice, informative website by the way.

Posted by: supra shoes | Nov 11, 2010 1:50:13 AM

It is my pleasure to read this page,I look forward to reading more.

Posted by: clothes online cheap | Nov 27, 2010 3:52:40 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB